ASSEMBLY ELECTION: UKIP blame "strategic error" for loss

First published in Assembly elections 2011

THE UK Independence Party believes a "strategic error" cost it a South Wales East regional seat.

It was so confident of winning one of the three list seats, that leader Nigel Farage was at the count in Newport on Thursday night.

However, he left disappointed, with a spokesman for the party saying on Friday that members have been left "scratching our heads" as to why candidate David J Rowlands didn't get in.

He said: "The opinion polls and final results are quite different. They had been consistent over a period of months, giving us hope. So, it wasn't an unreasonable belief."

With the party having a Welsh MEP in John Bufton, the spokesman said they saw South Wales East as their best hope of winning a seat, adding: "Wales is the place we're fighting, moving forward".

But, he said the party made a "strategic error" in putting a candidate forward for the regional seat, but not for local seats.

"We don't think the opinion polls were wrong, so we've been left scratchng our heads a bit," he said. "But, it gives us plenty to think about. I think people who vote for one party in the local ballot aren't likely to go for a different one on the regional ballot.

"So, it was perhaps our approach that was wrong and a strategic error we didn't put candidates forward for places like Caerphilly and Newport.But, we know the potential is there as plenty of people voted for us."

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